NWSCC student Pornesha Armstead meets with NWSCC Success Coach Savannah Liles in the Student Success Center on the Shoals campus.

MUSCLE SHOALS & PHIL CAMPBELL, ALA. — Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) has enrolled 3,443 credit students for the fall 2021 semester, which is an increase of 82 students, or over two percent, from fall 2020 figures (3,361).

According to interim NWSCC President Dr. Chris Cox, the College looks to build on this momentum and focus on providing the best facilities and atmosphere for its students to be successful. “We have started the two-year process of providing our students with state-of-the-art facilities,” said Cox. “Northwest-Shoals has a team of great people that are working hard every day to provide an impactful learning environment for our students. This support will be magnified as we upgrade our facilities on both campuses.”

The largest increase in student enrollment came from students taking dual enrollment courses at area high schools or on one of the college’s campuses. From fall 2020 to fall 2021, NWSCC saw a 20% increase in dual students.

Russellville High School (RHS) is the largest high school dual enrollment site for NWSCC. According to RHS Principal Dr. Jason Goodwin, the partnership between NWSCC and the Credit Assurance Pathways program at RHS has made it where students no longer have to choose between AP and dual enrollment courses.

“Several years ago, my high school AP staff sat down with NWSCC department chairs and reviewed both the dual enrollment and AP standards to ensure coverage of dual enrollment standards in our AP classes,” stated Goodwin. “After discovering all standards were covered, we now give our students in several of our AP classes the option to pay the dual enrollment fee for the guaranteed college credit with a passing grade.” Goodwin added, “We are extremely grateful and appreciative for our partnership that has allowed for hundreds of college credits to be awarded to our students while taking AP courses.”

According to Dr. Crystal Reed, Assistant Dean of Student Services, the high school partnerships are vital in building a successful dual enrollment program. “Our high schools are doing a tremendous job of working with us to make sure their students can take advantage of the college credit dual enrollment offers,” said Reed. “We want to streamline the process for our high schools and their students so they will continue their education with us after graduation prior to transitioning to a university or into the workforce.”

The 3,443 student headcount is an unofficial student census following the registration of all dual enrollment high school students and does not include students who may be auditing a class or enrolled in non-credit workforce training courses. Fall semester enrollment numbers are not official until verified by the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) at the end of the semester.